Examination of Witness

Part of Financial Services Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:22 pm on 19th November 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Duncan Hames:

That is a creative tension, isn’t it? I think we should welcome international scrutiny of the effectiveness of our own measures. As the Minister said, there has been a consultation about new powers and duties for Companies House, in relation to the quality of the data we have. We are already beginning to see signs of a cultural change in Companies House as a result of the directions it is being given and the anticipation of future legislation. We need it to be a partner in preventing crime, not just a registrar—not just providing a service to companies that wish to be registered.

As I say, we recognise the pattern of change there, but ultimately it has to work within the law, and if the laws do not empower it to take the actions necessary, we need to change that. We are anticipating that the Government will bring forward legislation, so that when we are trying to persuade other financial jurisdictions to address their own contribution to money laundering, including in Britain’s family of offshore financial centres, we are able to hold our head up high and know that we are doing everything we can to ensure that the quality of our own defences is adequate.